Receptors for small endogenous hormones on human leukocytes were studied by insolubilizing the hormones and incubating them with the cells. Histamine, norepinephrine, and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) were conjugated to either of two types of carrier: (bovine or rabbit) serum albumin or a random copolymer of DL-alanine and L-tyrosine. The conjugates were linked to agarose beads (Sepharose) and the resultant drug-conjugate-beads were incubated with leukocytes. Norepinephrine (when linked to its carrier via glutaraldehyde) and histamine preparations bound the majority of leukocytes. The binding appeared to be specific for the hormones tested. For example, the binding by histamine-rabbit serum albumin-Sepharose was prevented or reversed by high concentrations of histamine and histamine antagonists, but not by catecholamines or their pharmacologic antagonists. Similarly, binding of cells to the norepinephrine conjugate was inhibited by some catecholamines and propranolol, but not by histamine or histamine antagonists. Conjugates of norepinephrine linked via carbodiimide did not bind cells. The protein or copolymer carriers did not contribute to binding per se. The hormone-protein-conjugates bound more cells than the hormone-polymer conjugates. The former (unlike the free amines) failed to stimulate accumulation of cyclic AMP in leukocytes. The norepinephrine linked to polymer via glutaraldehyde, however, did stimulate leukocyte cyclic AMP accumulation, possibly because of the flexibility of the polymer. Columns of the various Sepharoses were used to determine the distribution of receptors to each hormone in mixed leukocyte populations. The majority of cells appeared to have receptors for both histamine and norepinephrine (bound through glutaraldehyde). Receptors to prostaglandins may have been detected by the column procedure, but their distribution could not be quantitated. The approach described provides a means to separate leukocytes on the basis of what are likely to be preformed receptors to small endogenous hormones, and to study the physiologic importance and function of the receptors.


Yacob Weinstein, Kenneth L. Melmon, Henry R. Bourne, Michael Sela